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Last week, I joined Tahora as their Marketing and Community Manager. My previous role was fully remote, so the idea of working in a hybrid environment was daunting. It meant travelling into London post-pandemic. Confession, I was a bit of a hermit last year; my sofa was my best friend.
Honestly? The thought of travelling again made me super nervous. Not to mention navigating all of the usual first-day jitters. Scary stuff.
Focussing on the excitement helps lighten the weight slightly. But having a good group of people around you makes all the difference.
Here are a few things my colleagues and I did to help my first week feel more like my fiftieth:
Restrictions have pretty much lifted now, but know that it's alright if you don't quite feel ready to ditch the mask. After living under a rock for the past year, coming into London felt more daunting than anticipated. If wearing a face mask around the office and keeping sanitiser on your desk makes you feel more comfortable, go for it.
Try to make your new work environment as homely as possible. It might mean popping a plant on your desk or filling your drawer with your favourite snacks. Whatever it is, making your workspace more familiar will help you settle into your new role.
The main thing that separates one workplace from the next is the people. Whilst your first few weeks are a great time to build connections, don't put too much pressure on yourself. Communication barriers can be hard to push through. Here's what I found useful in my first week:
Asking for help:
Being the newbie can make you feel like you need to work on overdrive to prove that hiring you was the right choice. You don't need to have all the answers and be a wizard to do a good job. It's better to talk about what you're struggling with than it is to suffer in silence. One thing to remember is "there's no such thing as a silly question". Clarity is everything. A simple "could you go over that again please?" makes a huge difference. Checkpoints throughout my first week removed the awkwardness of asking for help and made me feel like part of the team.
If you're finding the couch-to-commute transition tricky, tell your employers. And, if three days in the office feels like too much, communicate it. You'll do your best work when you're less stressed. They'll support you to make sure you're enjoying your role and can do it effectively. The last thing anyone wants is stress! Implement a solution that works for both of you.
All work, no play:
Talking about life beyond work isn't illegal, despite how it might feel to start. Don't be tempted to put your head down and work 24/7 at the expense of connecting with your new team. Building meaningful connections is powered by finding common interests; you can't do that if you're only talking about spreadsheets. A work-life balance doesn't mean work and life can't coexist. You never know, you might find a new best friend.
Worrying that you won't be good enough or that you aren't capable of the role is taxing. You're not alone in feeling like that – we've all been the victim of imposter syndrome. The thing is, those nerves, fears and worries are in your head.
Instead of "I'm not experienced enough", say, "I'm excited to learn more and grow my skills". Turn "I'm going to fail" into "I'm human, and I'll do my best. Failure may lead to my best work". It's all about mindset.
Really, it boils down to connections. Chatting with your team, being open and honest, it's imperative. We're all human, and part of that means making mistakes, learning new things, and feeling nervous to start a new job. Just be yourself, and trust your abilities.
Reflecting on it now, I was worrying over nothing. The team at Tahora were so welcoming and created a judgement-free, kind space. That, combined with the above tips, made me feel like I'd been part of the team for far longer than a week. If I can get through those nerves, you can too. You've got this.